A Rhetorical Austerity


The most influential teacher for Wiel Arets (1955) was the Belgian Geert Bekaert, who taught architectural history and theory at Eindhoven and from whose classes Arets remembers always leaving with a new book to read. He also quotes travels and conversations with colleagues as a fundamental part of his creative process. Once graduated, Arets wanted to establish himself in Milan, but stayed in his native city, Heerlen, on the borders of Germany and Belgium, before later moving to Maastricht. His early interest in debate and discussion crystallized into the foundation of the magazine, Wiederhall. Before becoming director of the Berlage Institute which he has headed since 1995, he taught at the academies of Rotterdam and Maastricht, the Architectural Association, the Cooper Union and Columbia University. After the geometric rigor, exposed concrete and sombre light characterising the Academy of Art and Architecture in Maastricht, his best known work (see Arquitectura Viva 38), the housing project in Tilburg (see AV 56) or the AZL Building en Heerlen, he constructed two more sculptural ‘objects’ in the police station at Vaals and the apartment tower KSNM-island in Amsterdam (see Arquitectura Viva 54). But Arets, as shown in his latest projects, can best be identified with the sobre, metaphysical overtones of minimalism...[+]

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